Gujarat is expecting to maintain its 17 per cent growth this year, especially with the tourism policy in place, reveals K. Biswas, Manager (Marketing, IT, and Personnel), Gujarat Tourism Development Corporation (GTDC).
According to K. Biswas, Gujarat has a plethora of offerings when it comes to heritage tourism – right from the properties to handicrafts. “Gujarat has had a rich tradition in terms of handicrafts. We recently launched our tourism policy for 2015-2020, where heritage tourism has been given a lot of emphasis. One of the unique points is that ours is the first tourism policy which is giving incentives to introduce audio video guides at heritage monuments. We also have a policy for heritage hotels,” says Biswas Talking further about their initiatives, he said, “We are associated with the country’s first heritage course at Ahmedabad University in terms of mentoring and some funding. There was also a team from UNESCO in Gujarat in September to give the nomination of world heritage city to Ahmedabad. Gujarat tourism was closely associated with the team to help them. We are also involved in many other activities like providing signages, audio video guides and restoration. Our tourism policy also talks about how best we can give funds for the restoration. It can only be done with a PPP model, because the government is not able to fully fund heritage conservation.” Biswas claimed that they have been consistently growing for the past few years. “Last year’s growth was about 17 per cent. I think we’d be able to maintain the same growth. We have some big events like the RannUtsav, which is going on and will be followed by International Kite Festival. We also have our biennial event called Vibrant Gujarat Summit, 2017, where the Honourable Prime Minister is going to visit and tourism will be a key sector.” While Gujarat is seeing a growth in domestic tourism, inbound is still slow. Biswas commented, “We are not as big on inbound as a few other states, but for us it is growing by leaps and bounds.” To boost this growth, Gujarat is developing new products. “While Rann of Kutch has already been very popular, we are also trying to develop the Little Rann of Kutch, which is near Ahmedabad. There are other niche products like Golf Tourism, and we are trying to promote handicrafts and bird watching.”